A whiff of disagreement discerned, snippets of enthusiastic arguments heard - engaged voices for opposite views on this obvious core importance for SAP. I say bravo! Creative discords and passionate discussions is what pushed the world forwards:
One camp was adamant that the platform is mature and as such poised to become a platform for all things enterprise software - a black-box-back-end that no firm nor enterprise software vendor could do without. SAP still delivering front ends while inviting others to add their (vertical or not) apps on the top as well - true platform thinking with community included.
Another camp was convinced that the Process Platform is far from mature and should have much growth potential.
I like what I hear - and I agree heartily with both camps!
Based on today's architecture - transaction based - the BPP is mature. As I have many times suggested, transaction based architecture has met it's nemesis, complexity, and will not be able to grow past the types of processes - the easily repeatable process - that the platform handles with great aplomb today.
A perfect black box for all things easily repeatable which I could easily imagine as a "must" underneath all other enterprise software, following the path of databases - you do not see them but you certainly need them.
On the other hand if you look at it from the "run a business" value and do not bother about the technology, well, then I think the life of BPP (in whatever form it can become, not what it is) has only started.
Most work as measured in man-hours is collaborative, sometimes ad-hoc, sometimes quite structured - but as it's about creative work and involves people it's usually barely repeatable. The kind of business processes that consumes acres of time and people resources, being the core business process of health, government, consulting and many other businesses. Thus most probably a much larger market for enterprise software than the existing one (I would argue) while currently barely covered by the enterprise software vendors.
How SAP will solve the conundrum I do not know - but from the outside it seems slightly obvious that the existing BPP black box could be a wonderful "cash cow" and lock-up-the-market tool. The established platform for all to be on. Doable and making sense.
At the same time a new tack has to be undertaken given the large untapped market, but as could be expected from somebody (me that would be) who's been pestering his readers with claims that "transaction based" systems are doomed - I think they have to start over to create a new platform for value adding to the BRP area, a new and potential huge growth area.